Title: Attorney – Capital Habeas Unit
Company: Federal Public Defender – Northern District of Florida
Location: Tallahassee, Florida, United States
Katherine A. Blair, JD, Federal Public Defender for the Northern District of Florida, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Lawyers for dedication, achievements, and leadership in legal services and public advocacy.
Since 2017, Ms. Blair has been a federal public defender in the capital habeas unit of the Northern District of Florida’s judicial system. Her work focuses on helping clients who have received death sentences have their sentences adjusted to non-capital punishments and includes working with courts and legal teams across the United States to conduct investigations, legal research, and submit petitions. Acknowledging the difficulty of her job, Ms. Blair emphasizes that while not every case is successful, the highlight of her work is being able to represent clients who have never had someone fight for them before.
Ms. Blair holds a Bachelor of Science in English and Peace and Conflict Studies from Wayne State University, and earned her Juris Doctor in 2014 at the University of Michigan. A fierce advocate for the abolition of capital punishment, Ms. Blair is active in research and policy work including submitting briefs to state supreme courts, the United States Supreme Court, and partnering with clemency organizations. In recognition of her work, she was presented with the 2019 Furman Award for Excellence in Death Penalty Representation, and she hopes to eventually “work herself out of a job” by helping to end capital sentencing in the United States.
Within five years, Ms. Blair hopes to transition into a supervisory role and take on more responsibilities mentoring new attorneys entering the department. She provides pro bono legal representation as a court-appointed special advocate, and is a member of the National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers. Outside her work in law, Ms. Blair volunteers with an area crisis text line, facilitates equine therapy programs for children and adults with disabilities, and sits on the board of the Kentucky Equine Adoption Center. She lives in Kentucky with her husband, four dogs, and three horses.
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